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Save our Sage-Grouse! Recommendations from Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit

8 Sep 2011

Desperate measures are needed if Canada’s most endangered wildlife species, the greater sage-grouse, is to be saved from extinction in Canada. This is the overwhelming conclusion coming from the Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit, held in Calgary, Alberta September 7-8, 2011.

“We have known for a long time that sage-grouse are in trouble,” says Cliff Wallis, Alberta Wilderness Association vice-president. “We will continue to press government and industry to stop industrial development in critical habitat.

Just 13 male sage-grouse were recorded in Alberta in 2011, and only 35 in Saskatchewan. The demise of the species has been steady and remorseless. Summit participant, University of Alberta biologist Dr. Mark Boyce has said that the loss of sage-grouse would be "the first case where the oil and gas industry has caused the extirpation of a species in Canada.”

The Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit consisted of leading international scientists, local landowners and environmental organizations working to ensure that the spectacular greater sage-grouse remains on the landscape. 

The recommendations from the Emergency Sage-Grouse Summit are published in a new communiqué. The principle recommendations from the communiqué include:

  • Designate additional critical habitat as identified based on proposed critical habitat maps produced in 2010.
  • No new developments in critical sage-grouse habitat. Major concerns are about prolonging or expanding industrial development and associated activities in and around critical habitat.
  • Restore existing critical habitat, including removal of industrial infrastructure.
  • To allow for future recovery, previously occupied range outside current critical habitat must be restored to functionality for sage-grouse.
  • Any new development outside of critical habitat but within the identified zone of influence (15 kilometres) must not contribute to the disturbance of the species or destruction of critical habitat. 

The full Communique can be seen online at 

For more information:

  • Cliff Wallis, Vice-president, Alberta Wilderness Association: (403) 271-1408
  • Nigel Douglas, Conservation Specialist, Alberta Wilderness Association: (403) 283-2025
  • Sarah Elmeligi, Senior Conservation Planner, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society: (403) 688-8641
  • Marty Drut, Grasslands Naturalists, Nature Alberta: (403) 529-6225

Posted September 8, 2011 by AEN

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